Paris is pretty darn spectacular – the sights, the food, and of course, the wine. Planning an event for people with a deep pocketbook and then doing my own vacation, I was able to experience Paris two ways: Splurge and Budget. Both were awesome trips, but I learned a lot from both experiences. First let’s talk the luxury experience!
Every amazing trip starts off with an amazing place to lay your head. If you don’t feel like you are at home when you get done with a day of tours, activities and great food.
It is Paris so there is no shortage of luxury brand hotels and the selection will be more based on your taste. Do you like to be seen and be in the middle of the action or do you prefer to be off the beaten path and be somewhere that feels like home?
If you are looking for the latter, let me introduce you to La Reserve Paris. This small boutique hotel is the epitome of specialty. The staff knows your name and you are taken to your room to check-in rather than standing at a stuffy desk. Your every need is anticipated but if you come up with something that hasn’t been addressed, I can promise you the staff will make it happen.
The food…oh the food. The food is the only thing that would make me go back to Paris. I was there for 3 weeks so I saw all the major sights, however, I could eat at the thousands of restaurants, bistros, and cafes for another few weeks. Of course, I would need a serious diet afterwards.
If you want to splurge, then start with the Michelin-rated restaurants. I had Ledoyen and Lasserre. I think my favorite personally is Lasserre. Yes, I know it’s one star compared with Ledoyen’s three, however, the traditional French service and the opening ceiling just make it seem so much more luxurious. Plus all the food seems to be a little more French compared to the more haute, fusion style food found at Ledoyen. Not to mention, the truffled foie gras in macaroni is seriously the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten…EVER. Ledoyen was pretty special as well…the experience was amazing and we were lucky enough to be visited by Chef Alleno (yes, I totally food-nerded out and got my picture with him!). He was a gracious enough host that I was able to get his cookbooks autographed for my guests.
The thing that anyone involved in the events business will tell you is that the “wow” factor is one of the most important aspects of planning. You want your guests to have a moment they will forever remember about your event. They may not remember the amazing wine or the hotel room but those wow moments…those stick with them. Problem is, when you are dealing with a group of people who can do whatever, see whatever, eat and drink whatever anywhere they want…well then you start having to get a little more creative and find ways to appeal to different individuals on a personal level.
Studio Harcourt is an international, photography legend. At over 80 years of operation, the studio has done portrait and family photos for some of the most well-known actors, artists, and musicians, not to mention heads of state from around the world. Walking into the studio is like walking into a time machine. If you want to feel special on your trip in Paris, schedule a portrait session with Studio Harcourt. Their special process of using lighting combined with knowledge of the subject’s personality, brings the photographs to life.
Now, truly private may be out of the realm of possibility for your trip, however, you can always splurge a little for a private shopper. Also, Galleries Lafayette coordinates some special fashion shows for their shoppers as well. From the big luxury labels who’s storefronts dot the city streets in all the affluent areas to the new up and comers who have small boutiques and showrooms, there are so many options for a fashionista.
Another area, I chose to make some enhancements for my guests was transportation. It is possible to book a VIP service to expedite your trip through immigration and help you with your luggage if you wish. People tend to love this little touch since we can all agree that immigration is one of the least fun things about traveling.
Ground transportation to and from our activities and meals was fun to play with as well. One night, we boarded a 1970s public transportation bus that had been refurbished. People on the streets can’t help but stop and look and wonder who the group in the bus is. Plus the back of the bus featured an outdoor standing platform which some guests really enjoyed. The pièce de résistance was the last night…couples slid into a fleet of Citroen DSs. The retro glamour of a really special car upped the ante on the evening. People passing by would honk their horns, stop to take pictures, all lending itself to giving guests a VIP, movie-star vibe.
Paris obviously isn’t a city short on luxury – no matter your tastes, you will find some way to make your trip to Paris something spectacular. The most important thing is to remember the “wow”.